Palanpur: A court here on Thursday rejected the Gujarat Police plea seeking remand of former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt and sent him to judicial custody in connection with a 22-year-old case of alleged planting of drugs to arrest a man. The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the police had picked up Bhatt and then inspector of Palanpur police station I.B. Vyas on Wednesday.
The CID produced them before Additional Judicial Magistrate V.R. Charan here in Banaskantha district, seeking their 14-day custody. Arguing against the plea for remand, the defence lawyers pointed out that the case was over two decades old and a petition related to it was pending before the Supreme Court.
The magistrate accepted the arguments and rejected the CID’s demand, and sent both the accused to judicial custody at the Palanpur sub-jail. Bhatt was Banaskantha district superintendent of police in 1996 when the alleged incident occurred. According to details, the Banaskantha police arrested Sumersingh Rajpurohit, a lawyer, on charges of possessing around one kilogram of opium. Police claimed the drug was found in a hotel room rented by Rajpurohit at Palanpur.
But later a probe revealed that Rajpurohit was falsely implicated by the police to pressurise him to vacate a disputed property in Pali, his hometown in Rajasthan. Following complaints, the Gujarat High Court in June handed over the case to the CID and asked it to complete the investigation within three months. CID officials told reporters on Wednesday that the former IPS officer and others allegedly hatched the conspiracy to arrest Rajpurohit by planting drugs on him, so as to force him to vacate the disputed property. Bhatt, who has often criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the 2002 Gujarat riots, was sacked by the Union Home Ministry in August 2015 for “unauthorised absence” from service.